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Marijuana Addiction

Symptoms, Consequences and Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

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Symptoms of Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana use disorder, which is characterized by a physical dependence on the substance, is more common than marijuana addiction. Although the addictive qualities of marijuana are commonly disputed, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana addiction occurs when the brain modifies its production and sensitivity to its own endocannabinoid neurotransmitters to adapt to large amounts of marijuana.

Marijuana addiction is also characterized by an inability to control usage habits, even though the marijuana usage may have negative consequences in various aspects of life.

If an individual is addicted to marijuana, they may display some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Requiring more marijuana to achieve the same effect (developing a tolerance)
  • Having an inability to control usage habits or stop using marijuana completely
  • Having a general lack of interest in other activities and social relationships
  • Continuing to use marijuana even though it’s causing significant problems

Consequences of Marijuana Abuse

Marijuana abuse and addiction can cause a variety of problems that affect the overall well-being of an individual.

Short and long-term health problems associated with marijuana abuse and addiction include:

  • Impaired learning
  • Impaired short-term memory
  • Lack of coordination and balance
  • Bronchitis
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Increased risk of developing addiction
  • Increased risk of developing other substance abuse problems

Psychological problems associated with marijuana addiction and abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Lethargy

A study published in 2004 also found that consistent use of marijuana was associated with lower educational attainment. Heavy use can also cause time distortions and judgment impairment, making users more likely to participate in risky or dangerous behaviors while under the influence.

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Treatment Options for Marijuana Addiction

If you are addicted to marijuana, there are several different treatment options that can help.

Medically Assisted Detox

Detox is often the first step in a comprehensive marijuana addiction program. While some individuals may only require a period of safe medical monitoring, a medically assisted detox facility provides a safe environment for you to cease all marijuana use without the fear of an unpredictable withdrawal experience. Medical and clinical staff monitor your vitals and well-being several times each day and may administer medication to treat uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Clinical counselors are also on-site to help you work through your emotional and psychological responses to detox. Detox programs are highly individualized and designed based on your needs and the severity of your addiction.

Residential Inpatient Treatment

Long-term addiction treatment of 90 days or more can provide very positive outcomes if you are struggling with marijuana addiction. Inpatient drug rehab gives you time to work through the 12-step program in a supportive environment while remaining sober. Inpatient rehab also offers a balanced curriculum of medical and clinical care lead by a multidisciplinary team, to address all physical and psychological aspects of your marijuana addiction. A blend of evidence-based treatment modalities and therapies throughout treatment assists in developing essential life skills, self-awareness, and tools to maintain your sobriety.

Outpatient Treatment

Not everyone can commit to a residential treatment program so outpatient treatment is another viable option. Outpatient addiction programs require that you attend group sessions at a convenient and safe location several times each week. This provides more flexibility for you to continue meeting your other obligations while still pursuing your ongoing sobriety with addiction education, group counseling and life skills and tools for recovery. Intensive outpatient care is also ideal for clients who are transitioning out of residential treatment as it provides additional support during early recovery.

Sober Living

Sober living programs provide a structured atmosphere that offers more personal freedoms while still maintaining a high level of accountability for recovery. Sober homes are gender specific, substance-free, and require that you adhere to the community standards and rules. Ongoing counseling is continued throughout this time. You will be assigned a program coordinator who will work to ensure you are meeting program requirements and goals. You’ll also have the support of on-site resident managers and resident care advocates to help guide you through the sober living program.


This type of treatment program is designed for those who have completed inpatient treatment for marijuana addiction and serves as a consistent support group. Led and facilitated by a licensed clinical counselor, aftercare programs provide the peer and clinical support needed to continue living a life in recovery long after you complete your addiction treatment program.

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